Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, on 8 February announced key structural realignments in the federal government, including the potential outsourcing of most government services to the private sector.

These include the merging of the ministries of Education and Higher Education, the attachment of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities into the Economy Ministry, and the attachment of Tanmia, the state’s human resources authority, to the Labour Ministry, which has been renamed Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Outsourcing would come in the form of developments such as the proposed creation of an independent entity to oversee and manage public hospitals, while the Health Ministry will focus on disease prevention.

A Council of Scientists has also been set up to review national policies on science, technology and innovation.

A Youth National Council would also be set up, comprising young citizens who will advise the government on youth issues.

New positions were also created including the ministers of State of Happiness and Tolerance.

Other changes include:

  • merging of the Mistry of International Cooperation and Development into the Foreign Affairs Ministry
  • renaming of Ministry of Cabinet Affairs to Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future, which will now focus on preparing the UAE for a post-oil future
  • integration of the Marriage Fund into the Ministry of Social Affairs, which has been renamed Ministry of Community Development
  • renaming of Ministry of Environment and Water to Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

Sheikh Mohammed, who made the announcement via an online interactive session, did not name the new ministers or if a reshusffle of cabinet posts has been undertaken.